Caterpillar Laying Off 400 Employees
UPDATED--Last week, the Illinois Department of Security said Macon County had the eighth-highest unemployment rate in the state.
"The impact is going to be significant to Decatur as well as central Illinois," Craig Coyle, president of the Economic Development Corporation for Decatur and Macon County, said.
Now, 11 percent of Caterpillar's workers will be added to that number.
"We're not alone in Illinois by having a high unemployment," Coyle said. "The majority of the urban population centers are over 10 percent."
Decatur's is 13.7 percent. Caterpillar's media relations person, Rachel Potts, released a statement saying:
"While some cost reduction measures such as temporary layoffs, shutdowns and shortened workweeks have already been implemented, more permanent measures must be taken in the near-term.... We know this is difficult for our employees and their families, but we are taking steps to position the company for long-term success."
"People aren't going to be able to shop and get things done," Christina Wilen, co-owner of Wild Hair, said. She fears purchasing her downtown her hair salon could end up costing her more money to run than what's she's profiting.
"Another place laying off, we're just gonna continue to see less and less business in an area we've just done all this work down here to try and make it look nice," Wilen said.
While Decatur business owners and residents are worried about the future of Macon County jobs, Greg Coyle is staying optimistic.
"We believe at the end of the day, having a company like Caterpillar in our community is an asset and we believe things will ultimately get better," Coyle said.
PREVIOUS REPORT--Another blow today for employment in Decatur. Caterpillar announced today they will lay off more than 460 employees this June at its plant in Decatur.
A company spokesperson said the layoffs are a part of an ongoing series of production cuts. The plant in Decatur builds products used in mining, and said there has been a reduced global demand for mining equipment.
Cuts at other locations have been temporary, but these cuts in Decatur will be permanent, and it is not known if more job cuts are in the future.
These cuts come at a tough time for Decatur. Recently, the state Department of Employment Security identified the city with the highest unemployment rate in Illinois, at 13.7 percent.
After making the announcement, Caterpillar released this brief statement:
"We know this is difficult for our employees and their families, but we are taking steps to position the company for long-term success."